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It all starts with one book

ELEMENTARY STUDENTS from public schools in Manila and the Camanava areas lined up at the Main Lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Nov. 20 to each receive a children’s book titled Kwentong Karapat-Dapat. The children then went to the corners of the lobby and a buzz started filling the air as they read from the book aloud.

Why Jessica Zafra gave up writing for newspapers

FICTION WRITER, columnist, and radio and TV host Jessica Zafra routinely writes 1,000 words a day — a working method inspired by one of her favorite authors, Graham Greene, who wrote in his novel The End of the Affair (1951): “Over 20 years I have probably averaged 500 words a day for five days a week.”

Anita Magsaysay-Ho in the house thanks to Rustan’s new home decor...

A MASTER artist’s work is most of the time enjoyed by private owners (those who acquire it directly from the artist, the winning bidder at an auction, or heirloom keepers). But Filipino modernist painter Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914-2012) believed that art is to be enjoyed by everyone.

The nation through the eyes of young artists

JUSTIN ANGELO D.G. VITAL, 21, led the invocation at this year’s Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC) awarding ceremony at the Glorietta Mall in Makati on Nov. 11. At that moment, he did not know that he was among the 12 winners to be awarded for their art depicting country’s reality, its citizen’s actions, and aspirations for its future.

Kärcher returns to clean its 3rd cultural site in PHL

AFTER THE cleanup of the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park in December 2017 and the People Power Monument along EDSA in February 2018, German cleaning equipment manufacturer Kärcher returned to Manila for the weeklong restorative cleaning of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.

Holiday auctions in 2 cities and a website with cause

FROM ITS regular auctions in Makati City, Salcedo Auctions is extending its reach and fundraising efforts through its subsidiary brand Gavel&Block by holding a sale in Pasig City for the first time, in conjunction with its new online platform.

Fil-Am editor, art director win top Palanca awards

FILIPINO-AMERICAN freelance editor Reine Arcache Melvin flew in from Paris for just two days to receive one of two grand prizes at the 69th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature at the Rigodon Ballroom of Peninsula Manila on Friday night.

The memory of Cats

COMPOSER Andrew Llyod Webber’s first memory of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was of his mother reading the poems to him at bedtime when he was six-years-old.

Dreams and travels on canvas

IMAGES OF butterflies in acrylic paint and figures of love and humanity made with laser-cut steel are the highlights in Ross Capili’s Tales and Trails, the 11th installment of Conrad Manila’s “Of Art and Wine” series.

Big Ass Fans’ Haiku offers stylish, energy-efficient solution to cooling homes

PHILIPPINE GeoGreen, Inc. is hoping to encourage more Filipinos to adopt a sustainable lifestyle by introducing energy-saving and green products to the market.

Lee Kum Kee chooses two winners for HK food tilt

TWO CHEFS will represent the Philippines in the International Young Chef Chinese Culinary Challenge (IYCCCC) in Hong Kong next year. Michael Lee Avisado of Vikings Luxury Buffet bagged gold while Muhajiran Ijiran III of Manila Commisario took silver in the local qualifying round. They will join around 50 young chefs from over 20 countries at the international championship.

Need art for your living room? Go shopping online.

THE EXPRESSIVE eyes of the portrait of an Aeta woman carrying a monitor lizard inspire the viewer to take a closer look at the painting. Ryan D. Orig, the painter, said that the image was inspired by an Aeta woman whom he recalled would pass by his family’s house in the province when he was a child. Aeta Girl with Bayawak is one of five portraits of indigenous people by Mr. Orig which are on view and for sale through the “online art marketplace” at FilipinoArt.ph (https://www.filipinoart.ph/).

PETA combats the stigma of HIV/AIDS through art

THE Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is closing its 52nd season with the Acting on HIV campaign.

REP 2020: A year of many firsts

AFTER 52 years and 82 seasons, Repertory Philippines (Rep) opens 2020 headed by a new artistic director, three first-time directors, and a new staging concept that is separate from Rep’s regular season.

Experiencing Van Gogh on-screen

“I CAN’T change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.” Artist Vincent Willem van Gogh — whose painting The Red Vineyard (1888) is the only work known to have been sold in his lifetime — wrote those prophetic lines in a letter to his brother, Theo in 1888. Today, his works are sold for millions in auctions and private sales worldwide.

CCP launches QRated tour and commemorative stamp

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines’ celebration of its 50th founding anniversary continues with the launch of the special commemorative stamp and a digitally guided walking tour.

The show must go on

SHORTLY PAST midnight on Oct. 2, the Star City Complex in Pasay City caught fire. Aside from the amusement park’s rides, the inferno, which lasted for 14 hours, also consumed the Aliw Theater — the home of Ballet Manila for nearly 20 years.

Manila FAME 2019 pays homage to heritage

CHANDELIERS, wallcoverings, doors, and mirrors adorned with laminated capiz shells (windowpane oyster) are among Shell Arts Co. Inc.’s houseware pieces that have been showcased since Manila FAME began in 1983.

The revenge of Sweeney Todd

THE ABUSE of power may lead its victims to go to extremes when seeking revenge.

Nature through the eyes of Filipino and Chinese artists

BREATHTAKING landscapes and personal encounters in Palawan take focus on the Metropolitan Museum of Manila’s latest exhibit, In Harmony with Nature.

Tribute show tonight for theater icon Tony Mabesa

THERE will be a program honoring the “Lion of the Theater,” Antonio “Tony” Mabesa, who passed away last Friday after a seven-decade career in theater and film. Tonight for Tony: A Celebration will be held today at 4 p.m. at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City.

Ultheraphy is not just for women

ACCESS TO technology and information has been beneficial in educating ourselves about beauty and skincare. Articles and knowledgeable beauty gurus now advise that one should start investing on anti-aging products as one approaches 30 -- to delay the aging, not totally prevent it. This applies for both women and men.

BenCab across mediums

MASTERPIECES by celebrated artists that adorn a house or room usually come in the form of paintings or sculptures. But if one would like to have a work by National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, they can now choose from a selection of his famous paintings which have been transformed into tapestries.

Lights show marks CCP’s 50th year

THE façade and the front lawn of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) were lit up on Sept. 26 with the official opening of the lights-and-sounds installation called Sinag: Festival of Radiance.

5th Danish film festival opens with Filipino movie

THE Embassy of Denmark is opening the fifth installment of the Danish Film Festival by screening the first Filipino film shot in Greenland, an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Society’s struggles in paintings

PAINTINGS depicting mental health and the lives of local farmers were recognized at this year’s Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) ceremony held on Sept. 19 at the LaPavillon in Pasay City.

32 galleries to show at ManilArt 2019

THE FLAGSHIP project of the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), ManilArt marks it 11th year when the art fair opens on Oct. 10 at the SMX Convention Center with the theme: “Building a Nation, One Exhibit at a Time.” It will run until Oct. 13.

La Pintura sold for P78M at auction

FÉLIX RESURRECCIÓN HIDALGO’s painting La Pintura (1890s) sold for P78,256,000 (inclusive of buyer’s premium and VAT) at last weekend’s “Important Philippine Art” sale as part of Salcedo Auctions’ “The Well-Appointed Life” auction on Sept. 21 at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila in Makati City.

High notes for Passion

“What is the cost of a few words when a life hangs in the balance?” Doctor Tambourri, who is airing for the terminally ill Fosca, asks the young soldier Giorgio Bachetti in Stephen Sondheim’s one-act operetta, Passion.

What it takes to have company

It’s Robert’s (fondly called Bobby) 35th birthday! And his friends — five couples and three girlfriends — are waiting for him to show up at his surprise birthday party. He is the only bachelor among them. Will he wish to finally find the one? Or to stay content and happy as a bachelor? Is he really ready for commitment?

Bringing a legend to life

JUST because Repertory Philippines (Rep) has been around a long time -- it is currently on its 82nd season -- that does not mean that it is an old dog that can’t do new tricks. Case in point, its closing show in its current season is its very first original musical adaptation of a Filipino classic -- The Quest for the Adarna, produced through Rep’s Theater for Young Audiences (RTYA).

Cine Europa adds Bohol to its run

CINE EUROPA opens its 22nd edition in Metro Manila on Sept. 20 at its new venue at Cinema 1, Greenbelt 3 in Makati City. It runs until Sept. 24.

On life and love with Company

BEING in your 30s means finding a partner, settling down, and having children. Or so they say. The expectations for people this age what Company: A Musical Comedy — the first of three Stephen Sondheim musicals to be staged in Metro Manila this year — revolves around.

Viet Thanh Nguyen and understanding of two worlds

IT WAS between two or three in the afternoon in a hotel room in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Vietnamese American writer and professor Viet Thanh Nguyen was preparing for a book reading session at a local bookstore later that day. Everything was calm until a series of notification alerts filled the air.

All things beauty at Rustan’s

RUSTAN’S The Beauty Source launches the month-long Beauty Addict 2019: the GLOW Beauty and Beats Festival at Rustan’s Makati.

Franco-Asian flavors at Solaire

CONTINUING its Culinary Masters Series, Solaire Resort and Casino brings Singapore’s top celebrity chef Justin Quek and his signature Franco-Asian dishes to the restaurants Red Lantern and Lucky Noodles.

Jennifer Tipton on the unfading value of lighting

THE HOUSE LIGHTS of the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines were off, but the stage, filled with a set of a palace’s ballroom, was illuminated. The lights transitioned from warm and bright, to cool, then slowly faded to black. Tony award-winning lighting designer Jennifer Tipton sat in front of a computer with the rest of the production team as they switched scenes and checked the lighting changes for Ballet Philippines’ staging of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Good, Truth, Beauty: The CCP’s motto translated into light

ON a gloomy morning in mid-August at the Quiman Trading workshop in San Fernando, Pampanga, lantern-maker Chris was concentrating on making a frame with some thin steel before his fellow lantern-maker and mentor Bong welded it. Afterwards, the frame would be wiring and papered over to become a multi-colored lantern. Chris and Bong were among 20 craftsmen who have been working on three designs commissioned by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) — a sundial, a line of baybayin script, and star-shaped lantern — since May this year.

Discovering Passion

THE STORY of a love affair, musical numbers, choreographed marching, and a 16-piece orchestra come together in the Philippine Opera Company’s (POC) staging of Passion, Stephen Sondheim’s one-act musical with book written by James Lapine. The latest Manila run of the 1994 Tony Award winner for Best Musical opens in September.

Of augmented reality and social realities

ARTWORKS depicting social issues, graphite drawings and installations, and paintings of an industrial landscape viewed with augmented reality came out on top in the 16th edition of the Ateneo Art Awards held on Sunday at the Ateneo Art Gallery of the Ateneo De Manila University in Quezon City.

Titas are the focus of new TV show

ACTRESSES Joanna Ampil, Angelica Panganiban, Cherry Pie Picache, Lorna Tolentino, Agot Isidro, and Mylene Dizon all agree that there is more to being a tita (aunt) — in this case referring to middle class, middle-aged, urban aunts — than work meetings, yoga sessions, salon appointments, tea time. The actresses star in the new iWant original series, Call Me Tita.

Put another dime in that jukebox musical

THE HOPELESS romantic Tolits grips his cellphone tightly as he takes a video of Aileen singing the Filipino rock band Aegis hit, “Basang-Basa sa Ulan.” During the wet season, the rains pours down on Villa Venecia where the flood has not subsided for weeks — a recurring situation since 2014.

History lesson from author Gina Apostol

DURING SUMMERS in the United States, teacher and historical fiction novelist Gina Apostol busies herself with her next book. Once she has completed her concept and gathered research, she just keeps writing.

Style across generations

FOR HER 2019 holiday collection, Criselda Lontok showcases her bold colors and designs for the sophisticated woman.